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Photodynamic therapy (PDT) starts by injecting the bloodstream with a special, light-sensitive chemical.
Once the substance collects in cancerous skin cells or precancerous lesions caused by sun damage, we aim a laser at the treatment area — setting off a chemical reaction that destroys the growths.
Photodynamic therapy is an important option for skin care, but it's not a service every center offers. At Stanford, it's a key part of our treatments, with nurses specially trained in the procedure.
Photodynamic therapy is a very effective and patient friendly way to treat skin cancer and precancerous lesions caused by sun damage, and it's covered by insurance as a medical treatment.
Photodynamic therapy also offers a shorter downtime and recovery than topical treatment creams. It's best suited for the:
Photodynamic therapy is very safe, and some of its side effects are actually positive: rejuvenated skin that looks smoother, brighter and more evenly colored.
But the therapy can also cause: